To Do for Week 1: Introduction to Novel Writing

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 12.15.33 PM

Wow. 61 people 85 people are following this blog. I was totally not expecting this.

Thus, henceforward:

Students enrolled in the course at Ball State will be known as INSIDE (the fishbowl).

People following the course via the blog will be designated as OUTSIDE (the fishbowl).

There will be two types posts each week.

  • Do This: from ME, which will lay out the week’s schedule, the topics to be discussed, and any due dates. These will go up on Tuesday.

  • Report: from INSIDE students. They will “cover” the class for OUTSIDE students and share their experiences/epiphanies/progress/frustrations. Report posts will go up the following Tuesday.

(For those outside the fishbowl, there will be a little lag time for you between what I say we’re doing “this week” and the students’ reports.)

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 7.50.56 PMOutside students are welcome to comment on this blog at any time, to share their own blog posts, and to use the hashtag #amnoveling as a pivot to record their writing sessions, etc.

Accountability: Anytime I say “Send me your weekly words,” I’m referring to INSIDE students only. That’s how I hold them accountable. However, I recommend that Outside students find someone to whom they can send their Weekly Words, too. The more you do to make yourself accountable for getting this work done, the more likely you are to benefit from this experience! Using social media is one easy way to do that. Think of it as “checking in” at Crossfit or sharing your run results via MapMyRun.

Getting Up To Speed

This weekend, the Outside students should probably spend some time:

Reading List: here are the books you can read along with us: Tom Perrotta, Election; Rex Pickett, Sideways; Julianna Baggott, Pure; Evan S. Connell, Mrs. Bridge. Read as many as you can!Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 7.50.38 PM

Which of these are you willing to commit to?

  • write at least 2,000 words a week, every week.
  • read the books we’re reading.
  • reverse storyboard a book of your choice
  • start a blog yourself and share your journey
  • find a beta group (IRL or online) who you can trade work with this term

Week 1: Moving from “Story” to “Book”

In-class diagnostic

We’ll discuss:

  • How is writing a novel different from writing short stories? How do we have to write differently, think differently, read differently?
  • What will be your writing regimen this semester? Think about your answers to these questions.

Weekly Words: Practice Run: No word count minimum or maximum. Turn in via email to my gmail by Sunday 8/25 at 5 PM. Focus: Tell me about the novel you plan to write. You must tell me about:

  • The EVENT/S–the inciting incident, a few major plot points, a vague sense of what’s going to happen
  • The TYPE of novel you’re writing. Is it sci-fi-ish, a realistic coming of age story, a historical novel, a fantasy, a satire? If you aren’t sure, name a few other books and/or authors that you think might be similar or that you’re inspired by. I need to put the INSIDE students in groups according to the type of novel they’re writing. No word count minimum this week.

Start reading Tom Perrotta’s Election


4 Comments on “To Do for Week 1: Introduction to Novel Writing”

  1. drewubryson says:

    Hi Cathy,

    This is a push-to-get-going just when I need it most. Thank you very much! I am one of your 61 outsiders and privileged to be so. Already I have started my first blog. Here is the address in case anyone wishes to visit 🙂

  2. gailwerner says:

    Hi Cathy! I really admire and appreciate your willingness to open up the class to those of us “outsiders”. I’ve long wondered if I could write a novel, since I LOVE writing, but so far, it always seems like my ideas for the characters and plots in my head are just snippets best suited as short stories. So I look forward to learning more about the novel writing process and seeing if, at the end of the semester, I can have 20,000 words collected like the rest of your “inside” students. As for the students in the class, hi!!!

    Here’s a link to my blog where I hope to document my (baby) steps in the writing process:

  3. Another outsider here:

    Excited to join in, and if anyone wants to be my writing “buddy,” send me a comment via my blog.

  4. Melissa S says:

    I’m in insider! And I love this class so far. If you want to follow along with me on my writing blog as well, I am here:

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